Geofencing stops my drone before regulations do. What do I do?

The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority has received several inquiries after DJI updated its software for geofencing which also includes Norway. The update turns out to contain map references that are stricter than current Norwegian regulations.

With the right permit from the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air traffic control (ATC), as well as other relevant agencies, it is possible to fly drones throughout the country, says Bente Heggedal Løvold, head of section for unmanned aviation.

The rules for where flying is allowed and not allowed are provided in the Regulations concerning aircraft without a pilot on board etc. (BSLA 7-1) and the Civil Aviation Act, June 11, 1993 no. 101. All manufacturers are free to design their software with the geofencing restrictions they want.

Since operators i Norway have a number of different permits, it is impossible for the Civil Aviation Authority to give information to every manufacturer that implements restrictions in their systems. If you have the need and permission to fly at a certain place and your drone does not work, you must either contact the manufacturer of the drone or turn off the GPS and manually fly the drone. We remind you that most suppliers of drones have several software suppliers that can be used for GPS flights and which can be considered. It is very important that you test these well before flying near people or objects that may be affected by the flight. 

In the long term, this issue will be resolved by the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority setting the limits for drone prohibition zones so that manufacturers can harmonize their geofencing systems accordingly. This is a comprehensive endeavor that will take time to get in place, the coming EU rules give the countries a 2 year deadline.

For simple rules when flying your drone, visit our drone guide.

Published: 28. Mar 2019